Starting the Adoption Process

Adoption-Fraud Alert, Resources

Adoption-Fraud Alert

Although adoption scammers aren't the norm, they're far from uncommon. Ana and Johnny Strickland discovered this the hard way. Four years ago, the Fayetteville, North Carolina, couple found an adoption facilitator online. She introduced them to two fraudulent birth mothers and billed the Stricklands $3,000 for "living expenses." Finally, the couple adopted their son, Johnathan, with the help of a lawyer. To protect yourself, Nathan Gwilliam, founder and CEO of Adoption Media, producers of, suggests these guidelines.

  • Be wary of unlicensed facilitators who promise to find you a baby. They are not well regulated and are illegal in many states. Check their references carefully.
  • Ask agencies how potential birth mothers are screened. Is proof of pregnancy required? Will the biological father have terminated his rights?
  • An immediate request for money from a birth mother should be a red flag. Many birth mothers need help, but transactions must be handled by an agency or an attorney, who will know whether assistance is legal in your state. (Make certain the agency or attorney is licensed according to state law.)
  • Be cautious about working with women who have only been pregnant for a few months. They may not have had time to absorb the implications of placing a child for adoption and are more likely to change their minds.
  • Adoption Websites and online forums often alert their members of scams.


National Adoption Information Clearinghouse

Lists state-by-state resources and referrals in its National Adoption Directory.

American Academy of Adoption Attorneys

Provides referrals to adoption attorneys in all states.

Adoptive Families Magazine

Offers a variety of helpful information, including a calendar of support groups nationwide.

Resolve: The National Infertility Association

Sponsors nationwide support groups for parents considering adoption.


Provides photos and profiles of adoptable foster children nationwide.

Related Links:

Copyright (c) 2004. Reprinted with permission from the June 2004 issue of Parents magazine.

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